Knowledge’s AI-generated classroom tools are a force multiplier for educators

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Image Credits: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch

Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of ​​bringing AI into the classroom, but the team behind Knowledge believes that generative AI can supercharge education — all while putting teachers front and center. Nolej AI is an AI-powered tool that allows teachers to quickly create interactive learning modules such as quizzes, flashcards, games and interactive videos.

“We’re teacher-centric, we put them in the driver’s seat and we want to make sure they have the right tools to teach our kids the right way,” Knowledge executive president Vincent Favrat told TechCrunch.

Now, at the TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield competition, the Nolej team is launching the first version of Nolej AI, which will work in multiple languages, including English, French, Spanish, German and Portuguese. Nolej AI integrates with learning platforms, including Google Classroom, Moodle, Microsoft Teams and Canvas by Instructure, with more to come in the coming months. That integration means Nolej AI plugs directly into many teachers’ existing workflows.

In online and in-person classroom settings, interactive materials distill traditional textbook learning into bite-sized chunks that make it more engaging and more likely to stick with students. But creating a parallel curriculum of crossword puzzles and multiple-choice quizzes is a task in itself, and yet another task in which teachers are forced to kill time. Using Nolej AI to create this kind of content takes seconds or minutes instead of hours, and teachers can instantly review each interactive learning module instead of creating it by hand.

Bodo Honen, co-founder of Knowledge AI, believes that AI can bridge the current and near-future education gap. “We’re helping teachers create curriculum in real time,” Hoenen told TechCrunch.

“We are designing something for the future of learning. There aren’t many organizations today that can create that kind of experience, because they’re sitting on infrastructure that was designed 20, 30 years ago.”

AI is far from perfect, which is another reason Knowledge is designed to put educators “in the driver’s seat.” The team considers the AI ​​phenomenon of hallucinations — in which generative AI produces reasonable-sounding but completely wrong results — a “big challenge” and has been building their product with that in mind since the early days of 2021.

While the big language models synonymous with AI currently draw on the entire Internet to output content with a simulated human touch, Nolej AI handles its work in much smaller parameters, relying on user-provided content rather than the Internet. to a great extent. That model, which the Knowledge team calls “ground truth,” allows teachers to feed a curriculum, lesson or body of information into generative AI, which then creates supplemental content created using only that input.

“We don’t want to reinvent the wheel, so we take what works,” Favrat said. “The formats, templates we use – they’re proven, they work – they’re used by millions of people. But we want to upgrade the system so that it meets the needs of the learners.”

Favrat cited the upheaval in education caused by the pandemic as an impetus for developing tools through knowledge. The ubiquity of online classes and even online content for in-person courses requires new learning formats, many of which are well established at this point.

“You can’t just upload a PDF and have your students read it; It doesn’t work anymore,” Favrat said. “Students want something interactive, gamified — not exactly what science didn’t know in the 19th century because we now know what works for learners. We know what works best for memorization as a learner.”

Knowledge aims not only to increase knowledge retention and engagement, but also to increase course completion rates. Massive online courses are notorious for their high dropout rates, but interactive learning optimized for an online setting can keep students plugged in.

“So they go to the end of the course, as opposed to saying, ‘Oh, I’m bored, I’m out,’ and that’s it,” Favrat said.

Knowledge AI is the company’s first major product, designed for e-learning in a somewhat traditional classroom setting, online or closed. But the team is working on another tool more geared towards self-directed learning called KnowledgeLX. Hoenen uses the analogy of Lego building blocks: if Nolej AI creates the Lego pieces, Nolej LX designs the experience of all the bricks.

Self-directed learners can set learning objectives with Nolej LX, and the tool will create the learning nodes needed for comprehension. The goal can be simple, say learning French for a grand tour of wine country. But it can also be complex — like learning a skill so specific or advanced that a curriculum doesn’t yet exist.

“I can ask Knowledge, (which) can then create a map of ignorance for you, essentially all the Lego bricks, all the concepts you need to learn to build in between, wherever you are, whatever your current understanding is, and whatever your learning goal is. ” Honen explained. “It really has to do with the learner’s intrinsic motivation.”

“I have kids and they keep asking, ‘Why am I learning this? Why am I learning this? Why is this important?’ And you know, suddenly giving these students a map of their ignorance, they realize, ‘Okay, why am I learning this, because this is part of this concept or this idea.’ So there are many mechanisms that make it more attractive and exciting.”

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